Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

Primary tabs

Page: of 6
Download: PDF (6.24 MiB)
Camp near Seneca CreekMarylandOct 19th 1862My Dear Wife :

Page 1

Our Post Boy came in last night but did not bring any tidings from home. It has made me feel rather sadly today, and should have been more so if I had not been very busy. You will see by the heading of this that we have moved again. Last Sunday morning or mind orders to move, or rather saturday night, and you cannot convince of the bustle an order creates in camp, but troops commenced moving about 12 Midnight. Our troops must always move in the night and it devolved upon me to take charge of the sick in hospital and see to their proper removal, a task that requires no small amount of care and management. It took me till 4 P.M. on sunday to get them under way. Then I had to ride

Page 2

with only one companion for many miles [   ] a strange road in an enemies country, till late at night where we have in sight of our camp fins, a sight that I [      ] my eye sight for, for it was dark as [egepk] & raining like [blazes], and my little nag neighed with an expression of pleasure at the sight, for you must know that our horses soon learn to become very much attached to the campt to which they belong. My little mare is the pride of the regiment. I found my tent pitched, but I went to bed supperless and wet and cold I wish you could see me when equiped for a march. Let me describe my equipage. First I will tell you what I carry behind my saddle. My beding (which I [    ] past with on no account when on a march) consisting of my white blankets. The bra quilt our army & a rubber blanket all of the former bring rolled up in the

Page 3

latter, all of which makes a bundle that reaches half way up my back, on the front of the saddle I carry one army blanket two overcoats (one of which is that one I wore when I was home from Brattleboro) all rolled up in my rubber coat. When I carry Sunday article - and a haversack over my shoulders. Then see me galloping over fields, jumping fences picking my way through blind paths in the woods - & over the meanest roads that can be imagined which are called [   ] highways, having a firm seat in my saddle heath glowing on my chuk - and [     ] in my whole frame that actually surprise myself. Does not the picture gladen your heart? It may for it is truthful to the letter. It was in this very way I marched last sunday night, and the last mile was through a field a road of which was not

Page 4

known to either of us, and so dark or could see nothing. Yet my little seen footed arrived brought me safely to camp. My Dear I feel that I am here for some wise purpose of providing A mission I have to perform that is to result in good to our country and ourselves. Every thing I attempt results in some good - my success with the sick surprises me. This is not said in a vian pride - for I feel that I am only an instrument in the hands of an over [    ] provider for some good purpose. I do sometimes in my mid night meditations have a thrill of pleasure when I now my position and hurdle efforts, and only want one thing to complete my happiness; that is that you could be with me and see and share this pleasure with me. We all may suffer bardships before the [     ], but I think [    ] a bright future awaits us.

We ahve a large number sick now (131) and with my share of them to look after

Page 5

I have the super intending of building a large hospital. So you can see that I cannot have much time for writing. Perhaps you think I might write sunday [    ] my dear we have no sundays. The sound of the axe, the saw and the hammer has been the only music that has greeted my ears today, and you can judge of the noise when I tell you that 20 men are making it with their tools. I was put in charge of this job by our Brigade surgeon who left the whole of the planing and everything to me, We have been at it three days and have it now nearly completed. He visited it today and was greatly pleased with it and the rapidity with which I was completing it. He paid me some very high compliments said I had gain an honor, for the [       ] of my plans and task of arrangment that would follow my through life, and went 20 far as to say that early promotion was in waiting for me, and yet

Page 6

this wonderful [stanition]was is built of nothing but logs and straw without a hammer or nail, [         ] it is a neat tidy affair So much for my knowledge of tools John Piper is my head workman He is one of our most industrious men, steady as a clock and my tempirate.

We have had an accident in our Regt. John Moulton, a man that worked for Deacon Moon last sermon on Mr Tylers horse shot all the toes off his left foot the other day - by the accidental discharge of his gun. Tell Mrs Moon of this. I must close up for tonight as it is late and I have got to be up and doing in the morning. I have lost my habit of laying in bed in the morning. Tuesday 21st - I intended to finish my letter yesterday but I did not get wound to it. I was getting ready to go to Washington for medicines,

Page 7

and expected to go tomorrow, but as I have not got my Pass ready I shall not go 'till thursday. I must tell you that my hospital Has been named by our Medical director well guess what? The Rutherford Hospital out of compliment to your humble servant. I have received two letters from you this evening dated 14th & 15th. I fear you do not get all my letters. You will see by this when we were ordered to. We are stationed here to guard a large amount of Government stores. Some Millions of dollars worth of provisions. We are 3 regiments and one batting of cannnon strong. Could make a very strong resistance of [      ] It is thought by our Col. That we shall winter where we are now, but we cannot tell one day when we shall be ordered to the next. You speak of my duties bring my [     ]. Then they occupy nearly all my time but they are duties and should or faithfully performed let others do as they [   ]

Page 8

and when I see a man needs my assistance it is my duty to attend to him. Then we spend a great deal of time every day in examing those that pretend to be sick, and if it did not use great judgement in should get wofully cheated. In fact it takes more time to attend to this class of patients than to those who are really sick. I get my patience so tired sometimes by the rascals that I cannot contain myself. I have just come in from seeing one of this kind, who was no man sick than I am (and you may be seen that I am in the my best of health.) and I dont think he will send for me again to night. But you dont care to hear of my little trial. I have been fixing up my tent to day. I sent off 4 miles to get 6 short boards to make a floor, sent 4 ment to a canal boat and appropriated a stove, found 2 lengths of old pipe and made a chimney by standing 3 bundles on top of each other, and am sitting by my cosey little fire writting to my loved ones